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Robotic Industry trends: Reshaping future

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Robotic Industry trends: Reshaping future

Tech Consulting for Startups

The robotics industry is constantly evolving, with new innovations being introduced every year. 2022 has been the year of robotics, development, implementation, financing, and M&A transformations in the robot industry. In the current year, all signs point to rapid growth in robotics over the next 10 years. Robotics has revolutionized the industry. These 14 innovative robotics trends for 2022 are reshaping the industry in response to the historic challenges of the past few years. As Industry 4.0 is fully taking shape in many industries, these trends are shaping the future of robotics. Robotic Industry trends: Reshaping future

Rising investment in robotics companies and robotics startups

Investors continue to fund the latest innovations in robotics across industries including medicine, manufacturing, logistics, hospitality, and automotive. With a lot of money in the market, venture capital (VC), private equity (PE) and strategic investors are looking to capitalize on and drive the development of disruptive robotics technologies.

Labor shortages and supply chain disruption are fueling demand for robotics in the industry. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global industrial robot market is expected to reach $31.13 billion by 2028, up from $14.61 billion in 2020.

Smart factories and robotics

The use of several combinations of modern robotics technologies to create highly flexible, self-adapting manufacturing facilities known as “smart factories” is already being applied in some parts of the world. Assembly lines will benefit from industrial robots and automated solutions, and smart factories will become the norm.

Digital factories and smart factories with robots

As a result, we should expect faster and more efficient, and more accurate manufacturing processes with fewer errors. Robots and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) will interact in the future, requiring less maintenance and human intervention.

Digital factories and smart factories with robots can achieve new levels of efficiency and flexibility through the coordinated connection of various processes, information flows, and stakeholders (frontline workers, planners, etc.).

Collaborative robots (cobots)

Cobots and support robots take center stage in the workplace.
Many companies dream of full automation, but the reality is that full automation can be prohibitively expensive and there are many tasks that robots can’t do as well as humans at this stage. Thus, innovative companies are looking for solutions that use the best of what humans and robots have to offer.

More and more companies are using cobots to complement their workforce and meet demand even with a small team. In fact, the popularity of cobots has led to the decline of the “robots steal jobs” narrative. The reality is that robots help people work easier and safer, while robots fill empty roles.

Unlike a conventional robot, cobots are designed to work with humans, not in isolation. This allows businesses to combine the strengths of human employees with the strengths of robots. Cobots not only make the work of employees safer but also increase productivity – today this is one of the main reasons for their success.

For example, fulfillment centers are equipping warehouse workers with robotic exosuits to increase human mobility. These assistive devices help stabilize joints and relieve movement during lifting and carrying, thereby helping to prevent injury and improve worker endurance. According to Wintergreen Research, the exoskeleton wearable robot market is expected to reach $5.2 billion by 2025, up from $130 million in 2018.

Companies are also looking for cobots (robots that work alongside humans) to increase efficiency and safety by taking on boring, dangerous or dirty jobs. For example, pick and place cobots are easily integrated into existing operations and take on the routine task of sorting and packing various goods. The cobots also use advanced visualization and sensor systems for reliable quality control in production environments. The use of industrial robots in factories has nearly doubled in the past 5 years worldwide, and cobots are expected to account for 34% of all robot sales in North America by 2025, up from 3% in 2017

Growth of RPA adoption in robotics

Robotic process automation (RPA). Few can deny the benefits of robotic process automation, especially with the rise of RPA. RPA improves quality control, reduces costs, and improves efficiency, among many other important benefits. There will be a significant increase in RPA adoption in the 2020s, but in particular, this is one of the main achievements of 2022.

Analysts estimate that the global RPA market will be worth over $29.3 billion by 2030, with an impressive CAGR of 27.7%—higher than many other technologies can claim. The growth of RPA is also linked to the development of peripheral robotics technologies such as cobots and artificial intelligence. RPA companies are adapting to this by creating more widely compatible devices that customers can easily use with other robots to create highly customizable systems.

Robot workers (robot employees)

Like cobots, robot employees are a trend emerging in response to the pandemic. The COVID-19 virus itself initially forced companies to reduce employee contact with customers for security reasons. However, in the second half of the pandemic and beyond, the shortage of staff has become a more acute problem for many enterprises.

As a result, robots are starting to fill unfilled jobs, even in roles that were once thought impossible to automate. A great example of this is the autonomous delivery robots used to deliver food and other small online orders. They have become so popular that laws have been written in several states specifying where robots can and cannot work. With record high demand for same-day orders for everything from food to electronics, delivery robots are meeting equally strong demand for drivers.

Robots as a Service (RaaS)

As a recent study shows, the global Robots as a Service (RaaS) market was valued at $12.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to exceed $41.3 billion by 2028, registering a compound annual growth rate of 15.9% during the forecast period ( 2021–2028).

Today, not every company can afford to hire the workers needed to support industrial robotics, especially when manufacturing is facing its biggest crisis in decades.
One of the biggest constraints for small companies to incorporate robotics into their manufacturing facilities has been the experience of the employees and the high initial investment. However, with the rise of everything as a service (*aaS), this problem no longer exists. Companies can now use RPA through Robots as a Service (RaaS) models.

Robotic equipment is not bought directly but is rented. Robotics rental services typically include monitoring, analysis, and preventive maintenance. This provides many benefits, including lower initial investments in robotics and the ability to redesign as needed.

Integrating AI in Robotics

As robotics technology continues to advance, so too does artificial intelligence. A 2021 global study by McKinsey found that 56% of companies report using AI in at least one function, from which they see multiple benefits. For example, retail companies using AI have achieved sales growth of 1-2%, while companies in manufacturing industries have reduced conversion costs by up to 20%.

Interestingly, respondents also reported significant cost savings as a result of AI adoption between 2019 and 2020. This potentially points to a surge in innovation and adoption of robotics and AI caused by the pandemic.

In 2022, AI will remain one of the top trends in robotics as its applications continue to evolve. Enterprises can integrate artificial intelligence into robotic automation systems to create intelligent automation. Processes such as customer service and inventory management can also be automated, which would not be possible with robotics alone. Innovations in machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing will only increase the popularity of AI alongside and within robotic systems.

Intellectual Property (IP) Critical to Robotics Innovation

Patents, trade secrets, and other intellectual property continue to be important tools for driving the growth of the robotics industry. Strong IP protection encourages companies to invest in research and development and offers additional tools to help innovative companies maintain a competitive edge.

In addition, robotics investors view the exclusivity afforded by intellectual property as a valuable asset, as barriers to entry often result in increased market share. This, in turn, helps companies attract funding and increase their value.

Likewise, IP protection encourages the growth of industry partnerships by reducing the risk of exchanging valuable technologies and often allowing parties to benefit from each other’s exclusive shields for background technologies included in joint ventures and collaborations. Experienced robotics companies build strong patent portfolios to stand out from the competition. Strategic companies are also increasingly using design patents to protect the “look and feel” of robots and user interfaces, in addition to the “how it works” protection afforded by utility technology patents.

Predictive maintenance with robotics

Robotics can save huge amounts of money over time, but it also comes with maintenance costs to ensure it remains at peak performance. As a result, predictive maintenance in robotics is becoming increasingly popular this year. Predictive maintenance uses technologies such as IoT sensors to monitor robot performance and physical health. Sensor data reveals performance dips, indicating it’s time to complete maintenance before a major overhaul is needed.

IoT sensors are also useful in robotic process automation, where they can help robots perform very useful tasks such as quality control. IoT and remote sensing and tracking technologies are becoming especially popular in warehouses, where robots are used for everything from picking items off the shelves to packing boxes for shipping.

Robots will become more accessible and easier to use

A few years ago, introducing programmable robots meant investing a lot of money and time. But democratization is accelerating. Newer generations of robots, which are smaller and more affordable, are being developed with the goal of being easier to implement. For example, SWIFTI cobots from ABB and Universal Robots cobots are good affordable solutions for small and medium enterprises.

Manufacturers are also developing new types of robots with either simple setup and installation or no programming at all. For IFR, there is also a clear trend toward user interfaces that allow for simple icon-based programming and manual control of robots. KUKA, for example, is developing Ready_2, which can be taught and not programmed, for example. By eliminating the need for any specific coding or programming training, these solutions help remove many of the barriers that previously prevented companies from investing in robots.

Increasing the compatibility and interaction of robots

There is serious progress in the field of interaction between robots. Compatibility between robots will be as much of a focus as interoperability between cobots and humans, as the adoption of robotics becomes more common. Few companies get all of their robotic platforms from a single developer and thus have trouble getting these different platforms to interact and work together. As a result, operations are often highly segmented, limiting potential efficiency gains. Consumer demand will force the industry to set standards and use open architectures to facilitate interaction between robotic platforms, as in the computer and telecommunications industries.

With so much adoption and innovation in robotics, diversity and customization is becoming a challenge for some businesses. In 2022, more and more robotics developers are mindful of this. Industry experts note the trend towards collaboration in RPA this year, noting that it is based on the convergence of many technologies to achieve maximum efficiency.

This trend covers AI and machine learning as well as other robots. A manufacturing company, for example, may need completely different robots for different parts of the manufacturing process or to produce different products. The market advantage of robots is the possibility of their easy compatibility with other, completely different robots. It’s an interesting contrast to other industries but points to a robot-driven future.

Robots in catering

While the adoption of robotics is growing in almost all niches, there is a particular focus on food service robots. The food industry is not what many consider the “robot industry”. After all, it’s hard to imagine a robot taking the place of a famous chef in a gourmet kitchen or inventing new recipes for a cookbook. However, there are not enough candidates for day-to-day jobs in the food industry, and businesses need a solution that can meet the demand for fast food.

A great example of working food robotics is the well-known pizza-making robot. By the time Picnic’s autonomous pizza-making robot opened for pre-sales in 2021, many have already heard of it, from industry leaders to everyday consumers.

It is one of a growing number of robots as a service that is likely to revolutionize the food and beverage industry in 2022 and over the next decade. Robots are also becoming more popular in the service and customer service industry.

Strengthening security to prevent hacking robots

Cybersecurity will continue to be a major concern for the robotics industry given the potential damage, disruption, and even personal injury that can result from hackers gaining control of robots. Such dangers were demonstrated in 2010 by the use of Stuxnet computer malware to launch Iranian nuclear centrifuges, causing them to explode, and companies are even warier of state-sanctioned cybersecurity threats as geopolitical tensions dominate current events.

Robotics companies are also aware of the possibility of such attacks by terrorists, individuals and even corporations trying to sabotage competitors. In this context, questions of liability also arise, prompting industry and government to make intensive efforts to prevent emerging threats.

Robotics and Industry 4.0

All the innovative robotics trends of 2022 prove the undeniable emergence of Industry 4.0. The past couple of years has seen massive growth in automation across more industries than ever before. Robotics is at the heart of this growth. Wider adoption of robotics will drive down prices and spark new waves of innovation in the industry. By the end of 2022, many of these trends may even become new industry standards.

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